6 Sales Tips We’ve Learned from Companies Born in the Cloud
The introduction of the Cloud drastically changed how technology solutions are purchased. Many established technology companies are struggling to adjust to this reality. But for companies who were born after the Cloud revolution, this new sales paradigm is all they’ve ever known.
One thing we’ve learned after years of selling Cloud solutions is: Velocity is key.
So with that in mind, here are 6 tips we’ve learned from tech companies born in the Cloud for driving acquisition, adoption, consumption, and retention:
1. Apply a Land + Expand sales strategy
It has to be your mantra. When you acquire new accounts, your sales job is just beginning. The ongoing challenge is to support the organization’s utilization of your solution, ensuring you remove blockers that prevent your solution from being seen as a time-saving, cost-effective tool.
2. Manage sales costs to match the sales process
Since your emphasis is on land and expand, it’s time to retool your sales process. Lower the upfront sales costs by offering free trials or limited-functionality offerings to get your foot in the door. Then focus more finances and headcount on the resources necessary to ensure you not only close the deal but also continue growing within the account.
3. Look beyond the Enterprise to SMB
The Cloud allows more businesses of all sizes to take advantage of technologies that used to be out of financial reach—creating an explosion of new business opportunities. SMBs may represent longer term customer lifetime value to you. Refocus your sales attention from Enterprise targets and consider the revenue upside of gaining SMB accounts. You may be surprised how it boosts your bottom line.
4. Have a Marketing Automation Strategy and Follow It
Your sales team needs the intelligence of a MAP (marketing automation program) integrated into the sales process. A MAP will help promote sales, encourage adoption and consumption, and provide you with vital intelligence on your buyers’ and customers’ journey.
In my recent blog, I noted: strong sales enablement comes from integrating marketing and sales efforts. MAP can be extremely effective in managing a strategic program of customer lifecycle marketing efforts supporting cross-selling, up-selling, customer retention and measuring ROI.
5. Sell fast, sell all the time, sell benefits
Cloud sales typically do not have long procurement processes. In Cloud, people can more easily buy in a phone call or through ecommerce. Your sales team should be structured to streamline the process with automated approaches, strategic sales enablement tools, and compensation plans to encourage effective, intelligent sales velocity.
The Cloud reality features lower initial investment requirements and as a result, Cloud solutions are always facing competitive threats. Your sales team must remain vigilant and creative to continually sell, support, monitor, and improve the offering to effectively expand and grow within an account.
End users want to hear about benefits so make sure the messaging, solution positioning, and the sales enablement tools focus on what the solution benefits are to the end user. And they will want to support when they hit a roadblock. Look to #6 for more on how critical customer support is to Cloud users.
6. Support end users
The Cloud buyer is no longer just IT. In fact, more and more, line of business users are making technology buying decisions. If they find your solution isn’t user-friendly or lacks the features they need, it’s also easy for them to switch. You must think beyond the initial sale and encourage product acceptance, usage, and expansion by focusing on two key areas:
- Feature needs
- Customer support
Give your customers what they want so make sure your Cloud solution evolves to reflect customers’ changing needs.
By promoting open communications, feedback, user surveys, and usage monitoring, you will learn what features would help the solution become even more valuable to your customers. It’s another way you will ensure customer satisfaction and extend retention.
Customer support to end users is key. As line of business (LOB) buyers become more involved in purchase decisions, it is critical that your sales team is structured to support end users. We include these support resources as part of our sales team. They are called Customer Success Managers for a reason—providing ongoing support to customers, upselling, cross-selling, answering questions, providing training, auditing usage, gathering feedback, and other activities that ensure the Cloud solutions are being used to the maximum potential.
Cloud sales is a continual process of driving adoption, consumption, and retention. If your sales team is structured to address the entire process, your solution will gain customer advocates or cheerleaders who will essentially help you sell and support internal users. If you are doing everything right throughout the process, your Cloud solution may even start selling itself. That is a beautiful thing.